Archive for 2013 Spring

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It’s hard to listen to the news without getting angry. War News Radio’s Caroline Batten and Elliana Bisgaard-Church have stopped trying. WNR proudly presents “Filibusted”, with all the news that makes us tear our hair out. This month’s topic? Climate change.

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yemenwaterboy2World Bank Photo Collection/Flickr

The ten most water-stressed countries in the world – gosh, it sounds like a bad Buzzfeed article – are all in the Middle East or North Africa. Yemen, perhaps best known in the U.S. as the target of covert drone strikes, is in an especially dire position. War News Radio’s Amy DiPierro asks whether water – as much as terror – is a security threat to the world.

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In this month’s show, we examine three issues that build on the relationship between environmental stresses and conflict. First, we examine the impact of a five-year drought on the Syrian Revolution. Then, we investigate the effects of changes in global climate on farming, particularly in regions prone to conflict. Finally, we ask whether water scarcity in Yemen is a threat to national security. But first, a brief commentary on the current state of environmental issues.

This week, Swarthmore’s Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine (SPJP) erected a temporary wall in front of Parrish Hall.

This week, Swarthmore’s Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine (SPJP) erected a temporary wall in front of Parrish Hall.

This week, Swarthmore’s Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine (SPJP) erected a temporary wall in front of Parrish Hall, the College’s main administrative building, to simulate a checkpoint along the wall that separates Israel from the West Bank.

SPJP members acting as Israeli Defense Force (IDF) guards have manned the checkpoint at appointed times. Their hope, members said, is to give students a taste of what Palestinians face by interrupting students’ movement, questioning them, and doing random backpack searches. 

SPJP member Razi Shaban said that punitive measures at Israeli checkpoints “breed militarism, radicalizing more than they pacify.”

SPJP member Razi Shaban said that punitive measures at Israeli checkpoints “breed militarism, radicalizing more than they pacify.”

 SPJP member Razi Shaban said the wall simulation is “a tool for Swarthmore students to learn about the [Palestinian] humanitarian crisis.” Shaban, whose father moved to the United States as a Palestinian refugee, added that punitive measures at Israeli checkpoints “breed militarism, radicalizing more than they pacify.”

The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories counts approximately 70 checkpoints both within and bordering the West Bank.

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Anti-Drone Death Walk

This month on War News Radio, “Forward Thinking”, we first discuss the future of Iraq in light of the ten year anniversary this past March. Then, we hear about a Philadelphia-based peace group protesting research on drone technology. Finally, we hear a Rwandan genocide survivor’s perspective on justice, forgiveness, and life in America.

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U.S. Army/flickr

U.S. Army/flickr

Text by Sabrina Singh

A decade after American troops invaded Baghdad in 2003, news coverage of the the anniversary remains dismal. News of the war either elicits either apathy or what Marc Lynch in Foreign Policy calls “American Strategic narcissism.” Even if there is a moral and ethical reason to include Iraqi voices in the commentary, Lynch points out that between Foreign Affairs, The New Republic, Foreign Policy and The New York Times, there was exactly one Iraqi writing on this anniversary.

The official statement from President Obama made no reference to Iraq’s current state, but focused instead on the need to honor American casualties. Former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney made no public comments.

Tim Arango of The New York Times noted that the war goes on for Iraqi civilians. With political instability in the country, the conflict is not yet “for the history books,” and the anniversary is by far not the most pressing issue for citizens. In particular, problems like sectarian violence, unemployment, corruption, and internally displaced people persist.

For Iraqis interviewed by War News Radio in this month’s show, their most immediate commentaries have been things like rush-hour traffic, unemployment, reminiscing about the pre-war era and playing war video games. It is stories from ordinary civilians like these – of human costs and the lived-experiences of war – that mainstream American coverage lacks.

The four Iraqis featured in the piece below tell a story of a remembered landscape. It’s a story about how war blackened the city of Baghdad, split its neighborhoods along sectarian lines, and left its streets crammed with checkpoints and traffic. War News Radio’s Sabrina Singh and Amy DiPierro co-produced this piece on memories of the past and hopes for the future. Sabrina narrates the piece.

Categories : 2013 Spring
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